2019-09-01 - Chrysalis


WAND Agent Black, SHIELD Agent Harman and Contractor Baxter enter the sewers beneath the disaster zone, seeking more information about the strange happenings there.

Log Info:

Storyteller: hank-mccoy
Date: Sun Sep 1 23:08:59 2019
Location: RP6 - DZ - Tunnels

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Theme Song



It has been a couple days since Thea and Sarah had their fun bonding experience in the Triskelion's Secure Medical section. They have since been assigned to take point on further investigation of the scene as follow up and been granted the use of a Quinjet (and a pilot to fly it!) as well as tac team on standby in case they need back up.

Back to the clinic in Mutant Town, right by the disaster zone and the tenement that Agents Harman and Stitch had investigated along with the contractor Jimmy Baxter, only Sarah hasn't been here before.

The area is just as fetid and wretched as before. If anything, things have gotten worse without Nando's care, such as it was. The stench of old and fouled water, and lingering traces of rotted food linger, and the place is still pitch dark.

Over the comms, Tac-Officer Marsden broadcast. «Your signal strength is a little low, but we've got your feeds, Harman, Black. Do you copy?» Marsden's an old pro, currently a senior DI for WAND, a good man with a lethal right hook!

Sarah, mission-dressed in black-on-black tactical uniform, with the WAND logo on the shoulder patch, replies over comms. "Tac One, Black. Reading you, a bit thready, but clear enough. Over."

Jimmy Baxter, codename Heavensent, doesn't fly in on the quinjet. No, he has a ride of his own. Perhaps if they look out the windows along the way, they'll see him there. Most don't notice him, not with that veil clouding their perceptions.

Not until he reaches the basement area. Then the veil drops, and the glowing figure is there, casting his light across the room for them both. "Heavensent. Reading You."

Thea is along for this.. fun mission, hair back in a neat french twist, and despite the boring dark, bland uniform clothes with boots that do nothing for style, she's trying. There's some studs in her ears that aren't cheap, and she still put on makeup, despite the face they were going into less than chic surroundings.

"Same as Black, can hear you with a little distortion, but still clear enough." She doesn't say over, instead giving a glance at Jimmy. "Nice to see you again, at least, despite the…where."

Jimmy's light reveals the full extent of the ick, it looks like the place hasn't been used by anyone in weeks. What little food was here has long since rotted or been made off with by various and sundry parties unknown. There is a distant dripping, and air is quite humid, enough that there's condensation on most of the walls, the heat seems a little high.

«Copy that, confirm—minor distortion, I have tech-ops working on signal boosting, over. Monitoring your progress, back up is ready at your call, over.»

There is a very still quality to the place, and Jimmy has a vague sense of being watched, Sarah's magical senses are sort of twigging — but it is hard to say to what. Thea can sense living things all around them, little things for the most part, bugs, rats, assorted vermin and up above there's more advanced life signs from the tac-team in their stealthed Quinjet, and a few others scattered about that live in the area.

Sarah Black replies over comms, "Tac One, Black. Acknowledged. If things go pear-shaped down here, we'll be sure to invite you to the party. Over."

Heavensent starts to take a deep breath… but then thinks better of it. He closes his eyes and focuses on his empathy as itself, rather than through the medium of scent. "Feels Like Something's Here. Watching." He shakes his head and looks to the agents. "I Think You Better Know What You're Looking For. Point Me Where You Need. I'll Light The Way."

Thea just takes a deep breath -through her mouth, not her nose- and tries to relax. She's sensing all the little life forms, but nothing too complex. "If you're sensing things, it's not human. I'm not getting any human readings down here on our level at all."

When Jimmy focuses on his empathy he gets a sense of something feeling surprise…and then withdrawing, along with that sense of withdrawal so goes the sense of being watched. In the darkness, down the way, there's the sound of movement…and then silence.

Sarah's second sight can detect myriads of magical traces, even a trail of sort.

«Copy Tac One, we are ready and able, hopefully this will not in fact go pear shaped.» A pause. «I like pomegranates better anyway, over.»

Sarah holds up a hand, saying, "Wait one, I want to take a Look." And with that, she closes her eyes briefly, with what looks like a moment of concentration or centering. And when she opens them again, it's with a look that makes a thousand-yard stare look short. "Bloody Hell," she says, in a voice scarcely above a whisper. "There are tiny specks of magic all /over/ this place. On every surface, and little trails of them. But they get thicker ahead and further in."

She blinks, and her focus appears to return to normal. "That's more than a bit unsettling. Magic isn't supposed to look like a bloody staph infection."

Heavensent's chin lifts when he feels that surprise, like the flash of an exclamation mark across inner vision. "Whatever It Is, It's Sentient Enough To Be Surprised We Know It's Here." Pause, head tilting as he looks at Thea. "What If It's Not Alive? A Construct, An Undead, A Thinking Machine… Something I Would Feel And You Wouldn't."

He lays a hand on Sarah's shoulder, to help her steady herself. In this form, his skin is just a bit warmer than normal, about enough that she'd think he's feverish if he weren't glowing. His eyes turn to the darkness farther in. "The Watcher's Gone. Seems Like Our Watcher, And That Magic, Is All Together. Unto The Breach?"

Thea looks at Jimmy. "That was sort of my point. You guys are clearly sensing things that I can't. And since I pick up biologicals… it has to be magical, or possibly Artificial intelligence. That sort of thing." She shrugs, a glance at Sarah, a hand out to touch her arm. Just to check that she's okay.

Sarah gives both Jimmy and Thea grateful looks. "We'd best be on our toes. I have no idea what these motes mean, or what their purpose might be, if any. For all I can tell, they could be residue left behind by whatever is further in. But they might not be. Only one way we're going to find out."

As the trio follows the trail into the darkness it leads a fair distance in and deeper. Along the way the heat seems to increase, along with the humidity until is is getting close to being a sauna. A foul smelling, dank, sauna that will likely linger in hair clothing..ugh.

To Thea's senses Sarah is fine, though definitely keyed up, her electrolytes are a little bit low, but that's probably the heat, and maybe a skipped meal at some point, either way, nothing too concerning.

Where things start getting interesting is at a spot where several sewer tunnels converge, there's old storm drains as well, making this fairly large chamber a nexus of sorts.

In the very center of the area is a slightly raised mound, a mound leading to what appears to be new construction of the tunnels.

Comms are still working, but there's definitely more static on the lines.

And for the first time Thea senses as significant bio-mass, down that hole, at the extreme limits of her ability to sense, and likely only detectable in the first place due to the concentration.

After a moment, just before heading in, Sarah shrugs. "Probably won't do much good against the wee beasties, if they turn out to be unfriendly, but I may as well do this now so I can recover the cost before things get dicey, if they do." And with that she makes a few quick-but-complex hand gestures and speaks a few words in some ancient, near-forgotten tongue, and a set of round, convex shields made of glowing runes and mystical geometries flare into being around her, shifting their positions around her body as if in search of impending attacks in front of which to interpose themselves.

They're heading into a dangerous set of unknowns, and the way Jimmy sees it, they'll need Sarah intact for her intellect. He's better as their frontmost member. He strides in front of her, and as he moves into place, a shield of solid white light appears on his arm. Anyone coming after Sarah or Thea would literally have to get through him first.

Soon, they reach the mound. He squints down into it, his free hand held out to cast the light as far as it'll reach… but it's much too deep for him to see anything. "I Have Nothing."

Thea pauses in her stride, just a moment, a hand out to touch Jimmy before she lets herself completely focus with her powers. Her eyes still function, but she doesn't see normally when she's opening her powers up full throttle. "Sensing serious bios, now. Still too far away for details, but.. it's giving me the creeps."

She will blink, shaking her head as if to clear or click her normal vision back into place.

It is at this point that several things happen at once. First…Sarah will be able to see several more of the thicker trails that converge at the hole. Second, this area is filthy with the glowy speckles. Third…there's rather large magical signature that just slithered down one of the storm drains to land behind a pile of detritus. And then the trash pile nigh unto ruptures as a pit bull charges forward!

Jimmy's empathy can sense…little. The animal, if animal it is, is very cold…but there's a sense, albeit a faint one, of the Watcher there as well - a cold overlay as it rushes silently and at appalling speed.

Out of the corner of her eye, Thea can see something scurrying along the ground towards them from behind, two something..wait…no…/three/. Low to the ground, perhaps a foot long, ducking and weaving to avoid the light.

If they were above ground, Sarah might instead choose an elemental effect, such as fire or lightning, to hurl at the oncoming creature. But Urban Magical Combat was one of the courses she excelled at — and she knows better than to cast anything of that sort in a sewer tunnel that might well contain methane or other flammable gases. So instead, it is an attack spell of blunt, concussive force that she looses, with a gutteral word and a gesture, a ripple of distortion plainly visible in the intervening air as the blow streaks toward its target.

The first bolt loosed hits the 'dog' full in the chest but does not stop it, it DOES shred the furry bits, there's red spatter, but underneath can be seen…gears, and pistons, the complexity is appalling. The impact does knock the creature back, and when it resumes running is is clear that the thing is somewhat impaired, so…it CAN be hurt!

Heavensent is far too used to fighting people, or at least living things. When most people prepare to attack, there's a moment of emotion, a crescendo of anger culminating in the strike. It gives his empathy an early warning.

These things project no such emotion. His first awareness of danger is when he hears that guttural word from Sarah. Then he turns, seeing the pitbull coming towards them, even after that blast. But it can be hurt. He steps in and swings his shield to batter it, to knock it away from its target.

His brow furrows. Now that he's not just listening for anger flashes, but paying more attention to it, he feels what there is to be felt. "It's… Strange. A Hint Of A Mind. Relayed Consciousness? Remote Viewing?"

Heavensent's shield bash combined with Sarah's shields do in fact deflect the 'dog' - but only just. It is FAR stronger, far more resilient than any dog should be!

Thea is turning around, a hand finding and flicking out her extendable asp. She moves to a defensive stance, asp lifted to be ready to strike out and strike low. "Something back here, too, but there's bio signs on 'em."

Sarah replies, "It just ate my best shot and it's still coming! That would have turned a normal dog into bloody chunks! Whatever it is, it's insanely tough!"

In the light of Heavensent's glow you can all see tiny skittering forms, all around, dozens, but they don't get close, just shifting and moving about in eyes confusing patterns. The dog slides a bit…then scratching claws sink into the stone and stop it before it lowers it head and growls, the sound is menacing as hell, but…Heavensent cannot feel much anger at all, almost like an echo of rage remembered. The sense of the watcher is stronger now, and for a moment, the dog's eyes are far FAR more intelligent as he looks at you three one and all, weighing-assessing-considering.

With her warning, and in her readied state, Thea will be able to react just fine when a bronze hued form leaps at her. THIS thing is not at /all/ natural looking…an enormous metal—centipede, but it is about fifteen inches long, and the tail is equipped with a scorpion-like stinger!

Two more leap from the shadows, alas, Jimmy does not see his - lands on his back, clinging, and then the stinger punctures his flesh just below his clavicle.

Sarah can /feel/ hers at it flies towards her…there's that odd magic, that weird mechano-alchemy she sensed the ghost of in the Triskelion. ALL of these things radiate it, especially the centipede things, and the dog.

"Be Glad It Did," Heavensent barks back to Sarah. "These Things Usually Explode. I Don't Like To Think How Big A Boom This Thing Would Make, In These Quarters." She could have avoided casting fire, only to bring an electric fireball from the Changed pitbull anyway. His attention locks on the dog, not least because of that little bit he does feel from his empathy. "Yes. Definitely Another Mind. Marsden, Do You Copy? These Things Are All Controlled By—"

All that focus makes it possible for the centipede to get him from behind. Damn these emotionless things. He gasps from surprise at first, then grunts in pain. As the venom spreads through his body, his arms go limp first, shield disappearing. His skin flickers, his healing trying to fight against it… but the venom's countermeasures are more than his healing can handle.

Thea will let out a cry, striking out with that asp that leaps at her, visualizing striking through it. But before she can even make sure it's down for the count, she's turning to Jimmy with a sound to try and pry that thing off him to try and fling it away. She will try to boost his healing, to try and help him battle that venom. "Shit! It's gone pear shaped and then some!" She will yell into her com.

«Say-ag_n, Mar-d-n…here, do…no__Copy, rep-*» Then static. «If…co_y, ETA…9-0…sec….»

Sarah has just enough warning to pivot one of her shields into position to intecept the thing leaping at her — the shields move fast, but so does the centipede creature. It's caught by the edge of the shield, as opposed to the full face of it, which does knock it aside — but a few drops of its venom spatter onto Sarah's left hand, and she immediately feels it going numb, and the effect spreading up her arm.

What decorum Sarah has left goes right out the window with that. Luckily for those listening, the stream of curse words that comes out of her mouth are in languages dead for at least a millennium or three. And the last word at the end is the keyword of another attack spell, as she attempts to hammer the thing that just tried for her into bits against the tunnel wall…

…and the spell fails, because her left hand does not respond to her brain commanding it to perform the needed gesture.

The pit bull, circles now…stalking around towards where the tac team will be coming…and then it lopes into the tunnel to slow them down. Even injured, it is at least two or three times faster than any pit bull ever should be!

Thea's 'pede' is deflected, and hurt…and then she's working with Jimmy.

The toxin is /strong/, but not lethal…it is a paralytic, and it seems specifically tailored to his physiology. HOW that was done? Well, probably it would take magic.

She can fight the stuff, but then there's a sharp stabbing pain at the base of her spine…now she has venom of her own to fight! And HERS is tailored to /her/ specific biology!

Even as Thea watches, the one on Jimmy stings him again, and bites for good measure.

The one by Sarah? It hits the ground running, twisting, and then darting back at her with horrific purpose.

Heavensent grits his teeth, as if he could just will the toxin to stop working. His eyes blaze as his soul rebels against it, working with Thea to wrestle the toxin back. He manages to make his fingers curl, such that they look like they should hold something… but as he conjures his sword, it just clatters away again.

And that's when Thea takes her own dose of toxin, and that assistance is gone. The toxin hits him like it's making up for lost time, and his knees give out, leaving him kneeling on the floor. At least the numbing means he doesn't feel the stabbing of that stinger, the bite sinking into his flesh. The compounding venom sinks all the way to his toes. The only reason he hasn't fallen over yet is because nothing has pushed him. His light begins to fade, but for now, he's still conscious.

Sarah backpedals, her disciplined mind fighting against panic, even as her own healing factor is fighting the venom that's disabled her arm. Given time, it might succeed. But she doesn't have time.

Not all of her magic requires both hands, though. The major magics, combat and defence, yes. But there is something else she can do. It won't likely stop the thing, but it may buy her time.

And so as the skitterer rushes at her again, a portal opens directly in its path. Which will deposit it a distance back up the tunnel. IF she's very lucky, maybe the tac team is coming and they'll shoot it to bits.

The portal actually works fine, and the clockwork horror is sent off…in the distance can be heard the sounds of gun play as well. Sounds like the hound reached the tac-team en route. They SHOULD be a match for it, but…yeah…it is tough, and has a lot of advantages. Odds are backup won't be arriving any time soon.

Jimmy can feel his body going stiff, and he can feel, even as Thea can see, the creature starting to wrap him in some sort of gooey-strands! Faster and faster he is cocooned — it will likely only take a few moments, a minute tops.

She was too focused on Jimmy, thinking she had time. There's a grunt as she's stung, taught to withstand pain without making the usual sounds, even if agonizing - which this is. Being stung at the base of her spine only makes the venom spread to disable her faster. She's too slow to try and switch her focus, even as she's crumbling to her knees, her weight being off center from reaching out to help Heavensent.

She's pushing back against the spread of venom in her system even as she sees Jimmy being cocooned. "Tac team.. venomous..creatures. Careful." She's already on the ground, and too consumed with her body to spare thought for how gross it is under her.

As Thea slumps, she ends up with her cheek resting the foul ground, but only for so long, for she can feel herself being cocooned as well, her own horror goo-ing her, wrapping her in strands even as consciousness fades. For Thea and Jimmy, it will come as a mercy when the lights finally go out.

The numbness spreads up Sarah's arm, and she /can/ fight it, for a while. She will be able to watch her friends as they are cocooned…and then the centipede constructs move to wrap about their necks, and then bit their own tails…


Magical lightning discharges into the goo…and it starts to glow.

Out in the hall the tac team is fighting the mechano-pit bull, the Changed, their bullets do very little until Marsden calls for armor piercing rounds…those have much greater effect. Still…the team is taking serious lumps, no casualties yet, but definitely going to need medivac!

Alone now, poisoned, Sarah will see the construct as it returns. It pauses, almost cruel, and then -leaps-, landing, and attempting to sting.

It's too much. With these things all around, Sarah knows she's running out of time, and she can only fight a delaying action just so long, especially impaired as she is. She has her doubts the skittering thing will fall for the portal trick even a second time, but surely not a third.

So in what little time she has before the thing returns, she does what she must. Her duty. She doesn't know if it will reach. She has to try. Setting her comm to record, she begins to speak, her tone even and controlled. "Control, Black. Codeword Equinox. Agent Harman and Consultant Heavensent are down, have been cocooned, repeat, cocooned, by the creatures. I expect the same for myself, soon. Unknown effect or intent." And then she sends the message. On repeat. And faces the returned horror, her shields at the ready. It will almost certainly win. But she's going to make the little bastard work for it.

Time and again the stubborn sorceress wields her power, deflects, dodges…but the creature, this menace has one HUGE advantage - it never tires. Eventually, she's stung, and that signals the end as the tailored venom works at her. Even as she falls, she can see the other cocoons flare, and then melt, and then she can actually hear the gears whirring - for a moment - as Thea, rises, as Jimmy…stands. They watch, dispassionately as Sarah too is cocooned.

The fight in the hall continues..but eventually the hound is defeated, and the men don't know to avoid it, when it falls, it explodes…two of the five men team are killed. The rest rendered unconscious, and in need of medical attention.

Marsden…at least Marsden makes it, though he'll be minus one lower leg.

Changed Jimmy and Changed Thea will witness the birth of Changed Sarah, and all three will 'wake', with no memory of the details of the fight, no memory of being cocooned. No doubt they'll help the survivors, but the messages? They won't remember anything detailed.

Some distance away, another mechanoid lifeform watches through the eyes of countless minions, with a graceful motion hundreds, even thousands of clockroaches explode, collapsing the tunnel behind the altered heroes on their way out.

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